Provide the highest level of safety, and
concern. In 2009, Fresno ranked among the top seven U.S. cities in both year‐round and short‐ term particle pollution and fourth in ozone pollu‐ tion, according to the American Lung Associa‐ tion’s State of the Air report. The rate of asthma among children in Fresno County is 50% higher than the statewide rate.11
Meantime, with Fresno County at the heart of the state’s largest agricultural produc‐ tion region, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation reports the amount of pesticides ap‐ plied in the county increased to more than 27 million pounds in 2008, the latest year for which figures were available.12
EJ community residents open their homes and backyards to show environmental hazards that they live with daily.
Pacoima is a low‐income, multi‐cultural, working class community in the northeast San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. There are at least 300 industrial sites in the area near resi‐ dents’ homes, and automotive dismantlers also have become an environmental concern.
A key part of the DTSC EJ Enforcement Initiative is predictive policing. It is a new en‐ forcement paradigm for environmental protec‐ —————————
11 The Relationship Between Air Pollution and Lung Function in Asthmatic Children, California Air Resources Board pres‐ entation, Oct. 23, 2008, at http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/ health/healthup/oct08.pdf.
12 “Pesticide Use Up in Fresno County,” The Fresno Bee, Jan. 7, 2010, http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/01/07/1772879/ pesticide‐use‐up‐in‐fresno‐co.html?storylink=mirelated.
Mission Statement: protect public health and the environment from toxic harm.
tion that enables government and EJ communi‐ ties to anticipate, prevent and respond to envi‐ ronmental harms more effectively.
Using predictive policing, DTSC environ‐ mental enforcement staff worked with commu‐ nity residents to identify hot spots of unlawful conduct in all of the EJ communities in which we have worked. We have found that Bill Gallegos, Executive Director of Communities for a Better Environment, is correct in saying, “If you want to save the environment, you must start with where it’s at its worst.” A dispropor‐ tionate number of egregious environmental vio‐ lations do exist in EJ communities. 13
We also learned through the Initiative that EJ communities develop their own intelli‐ gence (often referred to as “ground truthing”) and are extremely adept at identifying the envi‐ ronmental harms and health problems in their neighborhoods. By building trust with EJ com‐ munities and tapping this intelligence, govern‐ ment’s environmental enforcement can become more efficient and better utilize enforcement resources.
In fact, DTSC intends to apply and share the Initiative’s lessons to two U.S. EPA grant programs that were announced in November 2009. In the first grant, DTSC was among five state agencies sharing an $800,000 award to support state efforts to work with dispropor‐ tionately impacted communities in addressing local environmental and public health issues. In the second grant, DTSC will be among the enti‐ ties participating in one of 10 EPA “showcase” grant programs. The money will support work with an EJ collaborative in Los Angeles.
DTSC’s Initiative is consistent with U.S. EPA’s “Proposed National Priority: Environ‐ mental Justice,” released in December 2009, where EPA envisions geographic‐based enforce‐ ment that partners with EJ communities.
______________________________ 13 Clifford Rechtschaffen, et al, Environmental Justice: Law,
Policy and Regulation,” pp. 35‐71.